Jerry La Gra, Lisa Kitinoja, Karol Alpízar
Tool typology: 
Value chain analysis for the design of development interventions with rural communities
Long name: 

Commodity Systems Assessment Methodology for Value Chain Problem and Project Identification: A first step in food loss reduction


This manual provides a methodology for identifying problems and causes leading to postharvest food losses along an agricultural value chain. It describes the process of finding solutions that reduce food losses. The manual is organized as follows. The first three chapters highlight the importance of reducing food losses and describe the agricultural value chain. Chapter 4 identifies 26 priority components where food losses can occur along agricultural value chains. Chapter 5 shows how information on specific agricultural value chains can be collected and organized to identify these components and identifies which stakeholders are likely to be involved in each stage of the value chain. Chapter 6 covers the processes used to find solutions to minimize food losses.

The manual also contains a set of annexes that provide tools for identifying and preventing losses along agricultural food chains. The annexes include: a checklist of potential problems in an agricultural value chain; example questionnaires for agricultural value chain components; example questionnaires for collecting information on public sector institutions, farmers’ organizations, and development projects; a list of simplified questions for each component of the agricultural value chain; a summary of the postharvest system of mango in Uttar Pradesh, India; worksheets for quantifying postharvest losses of leafy vegetables, fruits, roots, tubers and bulbs in agricultural value chains; and a postharvest cost-benefit worksheet.

This manual was written to provide professionals in the agricultural sector with methodological tools to be used for identifying and minimizing food losses throughout a value chain.
Type of tool: 
Both quantitative and qualitative

The methodology of the manual can be separated into a number of steps:

1. Collecting descriptive and quantitative baseline documents on the agricultural value chain of interest, including institutional, production, postharvest, and marketing aspects.

2. Identification of significant problems affecting the agricultural value chain.

3. Determination of the magnitude and causes of postharvest losses and other problems in the agricultural value chain.

4. Identification of interventions that will alleviate the problems identified.

5. Creation of a strategy/action plan for developing solutions and implementing actions. 

Spatial coverage: 
La Gra, Jerry. Commodity Systems Assessment Methodology for Value Chain Problem and Project Identification : A first step in food loss reduction / Jerry La Gra, Lisa Kitinoja, Karol Alpízar . – San Jose, C.R. : IICA, 2016.
First released on: 
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Last version on: 
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Target audience: 
Development practitioner